William Kentridge

Artist whose powerfully political animation, sculpture and drawing also extends into performance and opera

‘In many ways, Johannesburg is a terrible city, so the fact that I’m still there’, said the artist this year, ‘has to do with what it is to work on the margins.’ His work continues to interrogate South Africa’s history as a pariah state, and the long shadows still cast by apartheid. Yet for all the solemnity of its historical themes, Kentridge is an artist with market clout to match his impressive institutional record. A survey of his work was held at the Kunstmuseum Basel during the prestigious slot coinciding with the city’s art fair, a precursor to a double-whammy institutional outing that opened this summer in Cape Town: a show at the Norval Foundation focuses on Kentridge’s sculpture from 1984, while Zeitz MOCAA is exhibiting his drawings, printmaking, films and tapestries. A show, as curator Azu Nwagbogu succinctly puts it, both ‘humongous and momentous’. To top that, the artist landed Japan’s Praemium Imperiale in September, with its 15 million yen honorarium.